Demosclerosis Progressive loss of government ability to adapt Democratic government paralysis
The more complicated government becomes, the less flexible and creative it is in relation to the demand placed upon it by changing needs. As societies grow in size and complexity, central governments themselves grow more complex in the attempt to deal with the ambiguities in these societies.
Stable societies, like the USA and the UK, which are spared the trauma of military defeat or social upheaval, almost inevitably tend to become barnacled with interest groups whose goals are to claim a larger share of the pie for themselves and their members. As they assert their claims, they impede the society's ability to make needed policy changes and economic shifts, so that growth slows and government becomes ever less responsive. By contrast, countries like Germany and Japan, which have had turbulent histories, are less encumbered by interest groups, and therefore see their economies grow faster, their politics adapt more swiftly to change. Because the interest-group network will not allow failed or outdated policies and programmes to die, there is neither the money nor the will to try new approaches.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
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